Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Art History

Project Advisor 1

Tom Wolf

Project Advisor 2

Laurie Dahlberg

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Arts of Bard College.

Arts programs, particularly ones that focus on education, are constantly losing their funding. Even as Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States, stated that “Arts education is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. It’s really the air many of these kids breathe[1]”, programs that benefit these kids are seeing their budgets slashed, and classroom educators are unable to get the training that they need to provide fulfilling educational experiences.

In an ideal world, museums would be free to everyone who wants to learn about art, and teachers would be paid at least six figures a year. But since that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon, it is important for us to find ways to provide kids with wholistic, culturally-rich art experiences within their very own classrooms. I think that picture books could be a way of doing this.

There are a surprising amount of picture books that focus on elements of art history. In this case study, I am going to focus on books that tell a biographical story and books that contain illustrations rather than print reproductions of works, because I am interested in the choices that illustrators make to show specific aspects of the artwork, because the biography is one of the major methods of art history, and because I remember, as a child, enjoying illustrated books far more than books with print reproductions (the series of artists biographies by Mike Venezia[2] come to mind).

Within this project, I plan on looking at and analyzing several books about four different artists, each a key member in the canon of western art history, and each am artist with a distinct style to learn from. Through looking at these books about Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Frida Kahlo, I hope to learn about the ways that the illustrators choose to introduce the artists and their unique styles to elementary school audiences, and the ways that these introductions can be implemented within classrooms, even by teachers that have not received extensive training in art history.

[1] "Evidence." Cultural Learning Alliance. February 16, 2018. Accessed March 22, 2018.

[2] "The Worlds Greatest Artists." Mike Venezia. Accessed March 22, 2018.

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